That's how I feel today. So... the question to ask is why? And now what?
(Ever find yourself dealing with these feelings and thoughts?)
For a while I have been wrestling with little things - nothing huge, just little things. But you get enough little things together and they will become a collective force for either construction or destruction in your life. When those little things are each sort of "Ugh" or "Blah" or "Yuck," and so on, they then create the "Ugh. Blah. Yuck. Argh. Blech. Gah. Ack." combo that creates more anxiety than being in a small space with Richard Simmons.
I know I'm not alone. I just got off the phone with someone who asked me how I was doing, and I said, "I'm doing 'Ugh. Blah. Yuck. Argh. Blech. Gah. Ack.'" He laughed and said, "I think a lot of people are feeling that way."
And then before that, I had a great chat with our church's lead worship guy Mike Edwards. He summed it up well - "A lot of people feel stalled right now. They are afraid to spit left or spit right. So everyone is sort of holding back whether they realize it or not."
I've been praying for words for this, and I think those gave me the final dose of clarity.
I have resolved to give my best efforts into the things that matter most. I know everyone defines those priorities differently on any given day, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to the things that matter most that we all sort of know "matter most."
- The stuff you realize at a funeral, but start to forget about the next day.
- The lessons you learn when someone you've been petty toward gets sick, and you now see all of the tension was wasted time.
- The insight you gain when a tragedy "almost happens" and you are spared... and you hug people tighter than you ever did before... for a while, at least.
- The humility you experience when you are given a gift of forgiveness that you could never deserve, recognizing that you have no response but "Thank you... thank you... t.h.a.n.k..y.o.u..."
- The smallness you understand when you catch a millisecond glimpse of God and see for the first time in a long time that He needs to have a greater place in your life than you've allowed Him.
But what is driving me nuts - absolutely nuts - is when I start to sense that the Church is taking its cue from the world instead of the other way around.
- "Times are tough." I know. But isn't God tougher?
- "It's rough out there." I know. So let your strength come from the One who is within you, for He is greater than anything or anyone in this world?
- "We're not able to make a difference right now." I know. And yet the world has always been changed by people who understood that our sacrifice when we feel we can't sacrifice is what breaks through walls - not just when we feel comfortable to do so.
- "I'm not sure that I have time for investing into my relationship with the Lord." I know. And yetone of the great uses of email, Facebook, and Twitter will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.
This past week on a friend's web site I read a statement he made that I thought summed up something better than I previously have.
I’m constantly reminding [others] of their need to fill their wells with the “This I know’s” (the richness of the perspective of God’s Word) and then acting on those things when the going gets rough and you don’t always see things clearly.Let's face it - this broken world is going to try to impale us with discouragement. Sometimes on purpose, other times on accident, and often because things are currently against the grain of God. It will do its passionate best to shut us down and shut us up.
I’m convinced that if we don’t live that way, we might wind up doing some things we wish we hadn’t done when we find ourselves walking through muddled stuff that is blurry, confusing, and emotional.
It will tell the Church to kick into survival mode - instead of "search and rescue" mode. It will tell us to pull inward, instead of think outward.
That why I see the value of filling yourself with Truth - like actually reading the Bible and letting it read you. It's like a musician who plays scales to warm up her hands before a big concert or an athlete who puts effort into his everyday practices so that when the big game happens he is ready for it. Or like a Christian who values taking part in Church services and gatherings to keep their lives on a solid trajectory.
Maybe that's why there is this insightful verse in Scripture about these "little things" - these "little foxes."
"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." (Song of Solomon 2:15)Feeling a bit "Ugh. Blah. Yuck. Argh. Blech. Gah. Ack."-ish?
Maybe the best perspective is one I just read via Facebook from someone within our church.
God, "why are you trying so hard to make me strong?"
He replies "to give the weak someone to lean on."
Stop merely surviving. Start living.
Stop merely putting in 0-80% effort. Start putting in 100%.
Stop merely whispering your ideas. Start letting your God-given passion shout out of your life.
Stop merely showing up to things. Start giving up your life in sacrificial ways.
Stop merely seeing yourself as a good Christian. Start seeing yourself as one who is dangerous and threatening to the status quo spirituality of this world.
"Ugh. Blah. Yuck. Argh. Blech. Gah. Ack."
Join me in resolving that this won't be a summary of our life, but merely what was thrown at us.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)